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GARDEN   6'3m?f Salvation: Adam and Eve, creation, love of God

(all characters wear army fatigues and halos)

DEATH -- (enters hurriedly carrying binoculars, wearing a sword)
When did it happen?

A1 -- (enters opposite) No more than five minutes ago.

DEATH -- (scanning audience back wall through binoculars) Stupid
human beings! I warned the Lord they would do this before he
created them! But he created them anyway. Get me a map of the
garden.

A1 -- Yes, sir. (exits)

A2 -- (follows Death after delay, scans audience) What are you
going to do with them?

DEATH -- What do you think I'm going to do with them?! I'm the
angel of death. Get me the operations manual.

A2 -- You can't just kill them! Adam and Eve were made in the
image of God.

DEATH -- (turns, sternly) I said, get me the operations manual.

A2 -- Yes, sir. (turns, hesitates, exits)

A1 -- (reenters carrying map and walky-talky) I have the map,
sir. The humans were last sighted near the tree of the knowledge
of good and evil in sector five.

DEATH -- (scanning) Check to see if the perimeter is secured.

A1 -- Yes, sir. (to radio) Sentries, report status. (turns away,
listens to radio, speaks into radio silently, listens, nods
silently while others speak)

A2 -- (reenters with thick notebook) I have the operations
manual, sir. But tell me: are you sure you have authorization to
kill them?

DEATH -- The human beings were given a direct order and they
disobeyed. You know as well as I do what that means.

A2 -- All they did was eat a piece of fruit.

DEATH -- Save your sympathy. The human beings had two hundred
acres of fruit trees and 200 acres of berry bushes to eat from.
The C.O. gave them strict orders NOT to eat from the tree in
sector five. And....

A2 -- Yes, but the death penalty is a little harsh.

DEATH -- We're doing things strictly by the book. Look it up.

A2 -- Yes, sir. (opens book, turns pages)

A1 -- Perimeter is secure, sir.

DEATH -- Very good. Any sightings of the perpetrators?

A1 -- No sightings yet, sir. But one of the sentries reported
sighting a snake in sector five.

A2 -- That's impossible.

DEATH -- What's impossible? There are snakes all over this
planet.

A2 -- I know, but I personally signed all the requisitions for
construction and population of the garden. There were no snakes
ordered or delivered to the garden.

A1 and DEATH -- Lucifer!

DEATH -- I knew he was involved in this somehow.

A2 -- Lucifer is an angel. What does he have to do with a snake.

A1 -- Haven't you heard?

A2 -- No.

A1 -- Lucifer lead a rebellion in Heaven. He and a bunch of
other angels were given dishonorable discharges from Heaven. And
guess where they ended up.

A2 -- Here on earth? Who reassigned them here?

DEATH -- Don't look at me! I was against it. But the C.O. didn't
think the humans would really have free choice if there wasn't
both good and evil to choose from.

A1 -- If you can only choose one thing, that's not much of a
choice. (listens to radio)

DEATH -- Yes, but look what happens when you give them a choice!

A2 -- So, you think Lucifer disguised himself as a snake?

DEATH -- That's exactly the kind of thing Lucifer would do.

A1 -- The humans have been sighted running through sector eight
in the direction of sector nine, sir.

DEATH -- Good. (examines map over A1's shoulder) They've got
themselves trapped. There's only one way in and one way out of
sector nine. Seal off the escape route. (draws sword, turns)

A1 -- (to radio) All sentries converge on the escape route
between sectors eight and nine. The angel of death is on his
way.

A2 -- (gasps) Listen, sir, isn't there another way to handle
this?

DEATH -- (turns) We're doing everything by the book. What does
the book say?

A2 -- It says "the wages of sin is death".

DEATH -- Uh huh. (turns)

A2 -- But these are the only creatures in the entire universe
who were made in the image of God. Can't we make exceptions
here? (scans book)

DEATH -- We're doing everything according to the book. (examines
map, points)

A2 -- (flips pages) Look here! There's an addendum.

DEATH -- I never saw any addendums. Let me see that! (looks at
book)

A2 -- It says the gift of God is eternal life.

DEATH -- Gift? What gift? I never heard of any gift!

A2 -- The C.O. apparently anticipated this contingency, sir.
Look here. (points) Somebody else is going to die in their
place.

DEATH -- That's impossible. Where?

A2 -- Here, Sir. (points)

DEATH -- That's 4000 years from now. You mean these perpetrators
get to skate by for 4000 years?!

A1 -- That's ridiculous! How can a death sentence be delayed for
4000 years?! (looks at book) Well, there it is as plain as day!

DEATH -- Yes, it is. But I don't see how justice can be delayed
by 4000 years.

A2 -- It can, if the person doing the delaying invented time
itself.

DEATH -- This is really a bad idea.

A2 -- Why?

DEATH -- If these humans are allowed to reproduce, in 4000 years
there could be millions of humans, each one more disobedient
than the next. Where is the C.O. going to find that many
substitutes to die for their disobedience?

A1 -- Well, I'll be! Look here! (points to book)

DEATH -- It can't be. This has to be a misprint. The C.O.
HIMSELF is going to die in their place?!

A2 -- That's what the manual says.

DEATH -- (stomps to exit) What kind of a C.O. would die in place
of his troops?!

A2 -- (follows) One who really loves his troops.

A1 -- (to radio, following) All sentries stand down. The C.O.
has revised the battle plan.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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